Four Big East opponents, including three that will be visiting the Athletics-Recreation Center, highlight Valparaiso University’s 2010-2011 women’s basketball schedule which was released on Thursday by head coach Keith Freeman.
The Crusaders will open the season on November 12 at DePaul in the Preseason WNIT, the first of a minimum of three games in which Valpo will play during the event which runs through November 21 on campus sites. The Blue Demons went 21-12 one year ago, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
“We are excited to play in the WNIT this season,” Freeman said. “It is one of two tournaments on our schedule, each of which is a different format. The tournaments during the preseason really get you ready for the conference tournament at the end of the year.”
The Crusaders’ other three Big East foes all will visit the ARC during the November and December. Cincinnati is the first team to visit, and will be making its first trip ever to Valparaiso on November 28. In last year’s meeting in Cincinnati, Valpo led by four with under 10 minutes to play before a lengthy dry spell from the floor allowed the Bearcats to rally for the win.
Pittsburgh will make its first appearance at the ARC on December 11. The Panthers went to the postseason WNIT in 2010.
Notre Dame will be the final Big East opponent to visit the ARC this season. The Fighting Irish have visited Valparaiso every other season since 2000, and are coming off a 29-6 record in 2009-2010. Last year Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen before falling in overtime to Oklahoma.
“We have a very good home schedule this year, which should spark fan interest,” Freeman added.
In addition to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, Ball State will make a visit to the ARC for the Crusaders’ home opener on November 24 while Chicago State visits on December 18.
Valpo will also compete at Evansville’s Tournament December 3-4 alongside Central Michigan and Coastal Carolina. A visit to IPFW (Dec. 8) and Eastern Illinois (Dec. 30) round out the non-conference slate.
The 18-game Horizon League schedule begins on January 2 against instate rival Butler down in Indianapolis, the first of three straight road games to open conference action. The league home opener is set for January 13 against Youngstown State, and Valpo will have its longest homestand of the year, four games, January 27 through February 5 when Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wright State, and Detroit visit town.
The regular season concludes with Senior Day on March 5 at the ARC when Butler visits while the Horizon League Championship is set for March 7-13 on campus sites.